LEMON BUTTA. Willowbridge Mall, Tyger Valley.
The N1 highway is no place to be overcome by a craving for sushi. Well, not if you are in the vicinity of the Boerewors Curtain of Bellville and Durbanville that is.
This I should have known. Most residents of this area would not know the difference between blue-fin toro sashimi and a Glenryck pilchard.
But the craving was there, plus a desire to see my friend Maxi Padde, who resides in that part of the world. “Check you at Lemon Butta,” she said over the phone before dashing off to wax her arm-pits and gloss her lips.
Lemon Butta is a restaurant at Willowbridge, one of the more un-mallish malls in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs (Boerewors Curtain). It is next to the Tyger Valley Centre, and is known as “trendy” Although in the Boerewors Curtain, trendy is used when Kurt Darren changes into a new pair of Crocs.
Maxi was waiting for me, looking very pleased with herself at having procured a table in Lemon Butta for Friday lunch. It is large space, the roomy interior spilling out onto a veranda. The place was buzzing with lunch-time patrons, of which most of the men had already looked in my direction. These things happen to a guy who is lucky enough to be in the company of a well-titted woman, which Maxi is.
In any event, I was here for sushi. A couple of ubiquitous Asian chaps in uniform were slaving away behind the sushi counter, although I couldn’t tell whether any of them had spent the required seven years looking at knives and cleaning chop sticks before being allowed to touch the rice.
The menu also has other fishy stuff ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ tempura, stir-fries, prawns, oysters, langoustines, as well as steak and chicken. Maxi told me “the salmon roses are the best in town”, which was nice of her.
I ordered a sushi platter, while Maxi had six salmon roses. The wine-list was so-so, and I ordered a Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2008.
Maxi was busy telling me some inside details of her French rugby-player boyfriend’s obsession with sticky bandage, when the waiter brought the sushi. This was after all of 10 minutes since the order, and an obvious sign that the stuff had been pre-rolled and pre-cut, instead of being made on order.
Not a good sign, I thought. “Yummy!” said Maxi.
Looking at my sushi platter I cursed the Americans. Did they have to nuke Nagasaki and Hiroshima? Couldn’t they have let the Japs emerge from the war with some international clout? Like the authority of ensuring that any place that serves sushi of the standard found at Lemon Butta will have its owner and sushi chefs lined up on the parking lot and forced to commit hara kiri with blunt Swizz Army knives?
The platter at Lemon Butta was low quality cat food, just slightly better looking.
The avocado in the California rolls was brown and soggy. The sushi rice was under-vinegared, luke-warm and had the texture of hamster vomit.
Thank the lord I only had one piece of the sashimi otherwise I would by now have some strange worm-like parasites in my bowels. The tuna looked like a rugby injury ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ a turn on for Maxi and her other rugby groupies, but grey and bloody to the rest of us.
The white fish (yellow-tail) was about to find its way to my lips when I detected an unpleasant smell, about which I am not going to say anything more.
What I did eat, was one piece of too thickly sliced salmon sashimi slathered in enough wasabi to bring tears to the eyes of an ancient marble statue. The fish was tired, tasted muddy and also luke-warm.
Maxi had almost finished her salmon roses. I grabbed one, which was mercilessly swamped with tangy Japanese mayonnaise so as to disguise the taste of muddy salmon and sick rice.
“Are you still hungry?” Maxi said with doe-eyed concern and an appetizing heave of her breasts. “Let’s get you some tempura prawn.”
The stuff arrived with a dipping sauce even Maxi identified as Wellington’s chilli sauce. She fed me a tempura prawn which was floury, soggy and tasted of a cheap shoe-box.
Around me the locals were laughing, drinking, sucking chop sticks and giving me admirable thumbs-up looks as Maxi began to sweat.
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